September 18, 2013 on 1:01 pm | In Community, Races, Random Musings, Sponsorship | 1 Comment
This fun blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Scott Perrine, who is about to compete at the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe.
All history ties the roots of Triathlon back to San Diego, CA in the early 1970s, but after spending the last two years in the San Francisco Bay, and on Alcatraz Island completing some concrete restoration work, I believe Triathlon may actually have its roots tied to Alcatraz. There is even a Triathlon named Escape from Alcatraz which I competed in this year.
Not possible you say? A simple look at the history of Alcatraz and the attempted escape of John Anglin, Clarence Anglin, Frank Morris and Allen West shows many similarities to Triathlon and multi sport. While a prison escape is obviously not a sport, there is a lot of preparation and dedication required for both, even some failed attempts along the way.
Start with the preparation. John, Clarence, Frank and Allen began their planning and preparation in September of 1961, eight months before their attempted escape. They spent every minute allowable planning and working towards their escape. Many of us that race long course competition dedicate eight months or more to training. We focus and plan for the event, training for the worst and hoping for the best. We spend countless hours focused on that specific event, sacrificing time with friends and family, sleep, etc.
They created tools to chip away at the concrete in their cells; we continually develop new “aero” equipment to make us go faster. They designed wetsuits utilizing raincoats to survive the swim through the San Francisco Bay; we continually develop wetsuits utilizing the latest technologies in neoprene to get us through the water faster.
The night of their escape they crawled through the openings they dug in their cells, climbed up through the service corridor to the roof and out to the Northeastern side of the Island and jumped into the water, that is a lot to go through just to go jump in the water. At the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, you get up early in the morning and head to the race site, set up your transition, get onto a crowded bus and ride over to the ferry, crowd onto the ferry and head over to the Island, then everyone jumps off the ferry and off you go. Adrenaline is racing as you jump off the boat, imagine what is was like for the guys that night in 1962.
They jumped into the water in the darkness of night during the incoming tide, fighting the currents and the cold. Some of their belongings were found washed up on the Shore of Angel Island the next morning. We jumped into the water during the early hours of the morning sunrise with an outgoing tide, had to cross three different current flows (as well as fight all the other competitors) and a majority of us swam (some washed up) onto the Shore in front of the St Francis Yacht Club.
A few other similarities:
- Allen West was unable to fit through the hole he had dug into the wall of his cell and never made it out to meet up with the other three. The first DNS (Did Not Start)?
- The other three were never found. The first DNF… we will never know?
- The FBI closed their case against the three 17 years after they escaped. In Ironman competition they close the finish line after 17 hours?
While the original Escape from Alcatraz was not a triathlon in any true sense of the meaning and I have taken some great liberties tying them together, it is fun to compare true history to activities we enjoy in our daily lives. What triathlons have you done where you can intertwine history with the event in this type of manner? Give it a try and see how creative you can be…. It will definitely help you get through some of those “dark holes” we sometimes go through during our training and racing!
September 11, 2013 on 9:37 am | In Community, Races, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | 3 Comments
This blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Nicole Ramsbey. Check out her blog at www.nicoleramsbey.com and follow her on Twitter – nicoleramsbey.
I raced a sprint tri the other weekend and was not in peak form to say the least. I managed to perform, and perform not too badly, which led me to thinking about a few things. One of the things I started thinking about was how much of triathlon is physical fitness and how much is mental fitness? At this point in the season when you may be approaching your ‘A’ race, now’s the time to figure it out.
I guess my first thought was, how many people, when they reach a tough moment, give in to the negative Nancy talk? I hit many negative points throughout racing, but rarely do I “give in” to those thoughts. Say you are coming up on a big hill during a sprint tri, you’re maxing out your heart rate and you get halfway up…what’s the first thing that you typically hear in your head? Is it, “I can’t do this anymore, I have to walk”? If that’s a typical thought process for you, how do you respond to it?
If you respond by giving up the race in your mind and walking, then I’d have to say your mental toughness might need a swift kick in the @**. I may get this thought once in a while, but I immediately counter it with a positive thought. During the sprint tri, I had my own mental battle, but I won. Every time a negative thought comes to mind, I always attempt to counter it with a positive. Last weekend when I hit the hill, I had to remind myself that I can do anything for a mile. My responses are almost automatic now, and if yours aren’t they will get to be that way if you continually work at it.
I’d say mental toughness is at least half of triathlon…if you can’t handle the mental stuff then the fitness won’t matter. Even though you may not be physically fit, if you are mentally fit going into a race, you can still do well. Imagine the day that you are physically AND mentally fit…you can OWN that day like no other. Don’t short change yourself, and remember it’s not always about how many miles you’ve logged.
August 1, 2013 on 3:25 am | In Races, Random Musings | 1 Comment
This fun blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Liz Miller (who also happens to be a geologist). Check out her blog at www.femwnliz.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter – FeWmnLiz.
What factors do you consider when signing up for races? How close the race is to where you live? Or whether the race destination would also make for a good vacation? Most triathletes like to plan and give careful consideration to every race that we sign up for, but sometimes even the best-laid plans can get sidetracked. Just in 2012, the Oschner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans swim was cancelled due to unsafe water conditions, and the bike course at Boise 70.3 was shortened to just 12 miles due to SNOW on the course (in June!). Some of the pro men even rode in their wetsuits, due to the 47 degree air temperature! But the chance of cold weather or choppy water isn’t the only thing that you should consider when signing up for your next race. I’d like to propose another factor to consider – geology! I know this is a triathlon blog, but how about we “switch gears” and talk some science.
I should preface this blog post by pointing out that geology has indeed affected some Ironman races in the past. Just 6 days before the 2006 Ironman World Championship race in Kona, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the island. Reports say that in the days before the earthquake hit, Kona was unusually hot and humid, and in the days after the earthquake, the area got slammed with torrential downpours. On the day of the race, skies were overcast and winds were light – a beautiful day for racing. But, at about 7:20 PM, a torrential downpour happened on Ali’i Drive. Some athletes had to wade through knee deep water just to make it to the finish line. Within an hour the downpour had stopped and the water receded. So earthquakes really can affect your race, even if the quake doesn’t actually happen on race day!
Now, in order to determine which races are safer (geologically speaking), we need a quick geology introduction. The Earth’s outer shell is made up of plates which are constantly moving. Most geologic activity occurs as a result of the interaction between these plates. There are three types of plate boundaries:
1. Convergent boundaries are boundaries where plates collide. At these boundaries, plates are colliding to form mountain ranges, or one plate is diving down beneath the other plate in a process called subduction.
2. Divergent boundaries are boundaries where two plates are moving away from each other. Magma can rise to the surface at divergent boundaries, forming new crustal material.
3. Transform boundaries are boundaries where two plates slide past each other. As the plates slowly move past one another, pressure builds until the plates rupture in one big movement, causing an earthquake. The San Andreas fault in California is a transform boundary and is responsible for the frequency of earthquakes in California.
Here’s the United States Geological Survey’s simplified map of plate tectonics; the red arrows indicate plate direction. Arrows pointing towards each other represent convergent boundaries; arrows pointing in opposite directions represent divergent boundaries; arrows that are side-by-side represent a transform boundary.
The other geologic hazard that should be considered before registering for a race is hot spots – the kind formed by liquid hot magma, not the painful ones on your feet at the end of a marathon. Hot spots are areas where magma is able to make its way up to the surface and form volcanic features. The Hawaiian Islands are one of the best known examples of hot spot volcanism – these islands have formed as the Pacific Plate moves over the Hawaiian hotspot. AND hot spots can also experience seismic activity. In the image below, the Hawaiian Island chain is visible in the center of the picture; this chain has formed as the Pacific Plate has slowly moved over the Hawaiian hot spot.
Now, let’s compare the geologic maps to TriMapper’s map of Ironman races around the world.
The Australian races are probably safe. Australia sits on a large plate of its own, and the plate boundaries are a significant distance from the continent itself. Ironman New Zealand could be problematic – the plate boundary runs right through the north and south islands! The earthquake that hit Christchurch in 2011 was in February, and Ironman New Zealand is typically early March. Japan is also at risk, since it is located on a plate boundary. In 2011, a very large earthquake hit Japan, causing tsunamis, structural damage, and a nuclear release. I wouldn’t want to be racing in that environment! Additionally, Japan has historically had some of the largest earthquakes, causing the most damage and casualties.
Most of the North American races are in the clear, except for Ironman Canada – Whistler is located near the triple junction of the North American plate, Juan de Fuca plate, and Pacific Plate.
The Ironman races in Mexico aren’t looking too promising – Cabo San Lucas is near the triple junction of the North American plate, Cocos plate, and Pacific plate, and Cozumel sits pretty close to a plate boundary too. In fact, the United States Geological Survey calls Mexico one of the world’s most seismically active areas. But further to the south, Ironman Brazil looks to be in the clear, since Brazil is located near the center of the South American plate.
Ironman South Africa and Lanzarote are both centrally located on the African plate and are probably safe bets.
Some of the European races might be a little risky – Ironman Wales and UK are probably far enough away from a plate boundary, as well as Ironman Kalmar and the Ironman European Championship. But Ironman Switzerland, Austria, and France are getting a little close to the Eurasian and African plate boundary.
So, out of 29 Ironman events worldwide, at least 8 Ironmans are located at or near plate boundaries. That’s nearly 30%! Not to mention the fact that the Ironman World Championship race is located on an island that is still being formed by an active volcano. I certainly won’t complain about making it to Kona one day to race, but in the meantime, I might stick with the North American races (or convince my boyfriend to buy a plane ticket to Australia…).
Here’s a map of all the Ironman 70.3 races – I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which races are safer than others!
May 29, 2013 on 1:13 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Races, Sponsorship, Training, Training | No Comments
This post was written by TriSports Triathlon Team member Zara Guinard.
So you just signed up for a race that is not within 20 miles of your house; hotel, flight, and rental car are all booked. The next question is, “how do you ensure you arrive at your destination (relatively) stress free, prepared, and ready to race?” You must plan. I mean REALLY plan. First you have Plan A, and then you have Plan B, Plan C, and maybe even a Plan D.
It is my experience in the past few years of traveling to races that things will always go wrong, but you can minimize your stress by arriving well prepared. I always do a little research on the area where I’m staying and find out the projected weather conditions for my time there, a layout of the area such as restaurants near the hotel, and distances to the expo and the airport.
Now that you know what the conditions and weather will most likely be on race day, it’s time to pack. I have a list that I print out (packing list at the end of the article) every time I go to a race. I only cross off an item once it is packed away. Sometimes I don’t need all the items for where I’m traveling, but its comprehensiveness ensures that I won’t absent-mindedly forget something.
I travel with a Rüster Sports Hen House, my wheel bag, and a backpack.
In my bike bag I put everything that I need to race: wetsuit, race suit, bike and run shoes, goggles, nutrition, bike tools, etc. Then in the wheel bag I pack all the rest of my clothes and toiletries. My backpack is my carry on and where I usually keep all my expensive electronic items such as my iPod and Garmin 910 XT.
Okay your bags are packed and you’re ready to go! Wait, what about nutrition?! Traveling to a race can be stressful on your body; you may be switching to a different time zone or your flight may be at an odd hour of the day. So how do you ensure that you are fueling properly to have a great race? That’s right! You plan. When traveling to a race in Florida where I knew that I would be going pretty much all day nonstop, this is what I packed for food:
I made sure to have my dinner food (the brown rice and avocado) with me. That way when I arrived at my destination I could focus on building my bike, and getting to bed, since my race was the following morning.
Okay, so you have your clothes, gear and food. After flying and driving for what seemed like centuries, you have finally made it to the hotel and now you can …rebuild your bike!!! For those who travel often, it is more economical to be able to pack and rebuild your bike on your own. If you have the means, there are often companies that will break down, ship and rebuild your bike for you. I happen to be very protective of my bikes and, as taught to me by my coach Trista Francis of iTz Multisport, I won’t let anyone touch my bike in the break down or re-build process. Only I know exactly how it is supposed to be for race day. Even after multiple assembly processes I still find it helpful to take pictures just in case in that frustrated, foggy, post-travel phase, you accidentally put your fork in backwards…not that I’ve ever done that of course.
Congratulations! You arrived at your destination with everything you need, a functioning bike, and either food for dinner or a contingency plan for the closest restaurant. Now it’s time to relax, hydrate, and enjoy a race outside of your own backyard!
- Bike shoes
- Race flats
- Race Wheels
- Bike Tools
- Blister powder
- Race Belt
- Water bottles
- Drink Calories
- Garmin Charger
- Running Tights
- Long Sleeve Tech Shirt
- Cell phone charger
- iPod Shuffle
- Podium Shirt/Skirt
- Comb/Hair ties
- Jean Shorts
- Tank top
- Trisports t-shirt
- Trisports run shirt
- Compression Socks
- Eye mask
- Foam Roller
- Tennis Ball
- Running Shoes
- Gatorade powder
- Race Notebook/Pen, pencil
April 18, 2013 on 10:54 am | In Races, Sponsorship | No Comments
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend USAT Collegiate Nationals in Tempe, AZ. I haven’t been to a college national championship in over a decade – back when it was held in conjunction with Wildflower. Back in the day, the college kids would just be lumped in with the rest of the Wildflower Olympic race. The race and venue were great, heck, we didn’t know the difference. Actually, the naked run we would do was a bigger highlight than the race itself.
Fast forward to now: USAT has full control of the race – a move by our national governing body that has many race directors up in arms (they don’t feel USAT should be producing races). I am here to tell you that USAT has made the right move by taking over the race; they are providing an experience for collegiate triathletes that no one else can consistently deliver. What an incredible experience for all of the college athletes that make the annual pilgrimage to this great event (the race site moves around the country every two years). This year they had a total of three races over two days: on Friday there was the first ever ITU Draft Legal Collegiate race, on Saturday morning was the Olympic non-drafting race and on Saturday afternoon was the Super Sprint Relay.
If you have never seen an ITU Draft Legal race, I can tell you as a veteran of 25+ years in the sport that they are really exciting to watch – especially when it comes to college racing. It’s like March Madness all rolled into a one hour race in April, with kids who aren’t getting huge scholarships to compete. As cool as the ITU race was, the Super Sprint Relay was incredibly fun to watch. The relay teams are comprised of two women and two men; each athlete does a very short triathlon of 250m swim, 5km bike and 1.2km run – about 15 min of anaerobic amusement.
I haven’t seen this much pure fun in the sport for many years; it was the most enjoyable time I have had watching the sport I have grown up with. Of course, it’s even better when you sponsor the team (my alma mater) with the men’s winner of the ITU and Olympic race (University of Arizona TriCat – Ben Kanute) as well as sponsor the women’s Olympic winner (Colorado – Michelle Mehnert) .
January 23, 2013 on 8:50 am | In Nutrition Tips, Races | 1 Comment
What easy triathlon tips can you use to become a faster triathlete? What unusual triathlon tips do pro triathletes give to beginners? There are lots of lists of triathlon tips out there (eat your Wheaties, be sure to stay hydrated, take your bike helmet off for the run – don’t laugh, I’ve seen people forget that one), but most of those triathlon tips you can think of yourself, or are pretty obvious.
This is a list of triathlon tips I have assembled, focusing on actually useful tips to being a faster triathlete, but ones that I am confident you have not heard before. On each one of the triathlon tips you can click the links for more detail.
Added Bonus- There are actually 13 triathlon tips for the price of 10!
1.Carb-load properly the day before the race:
- This is one of those things that everyone thinks they know how to do but very few people get right
- The day before the race focus on eating a LOT of easy to digest (and pass through) carbohydrates!
- Eat them early in the day (pancakes and syrup?)
- Your target is 15 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight- this is a LOT. Think ~2 lb of pasta.
- Eliminate non-carb foods the day before the race so you are not overwhelmed by calories
- You can read more details on how to carb load properly for a triathlon.
Swimming: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Swim
2. Learn how to draft on the swim!
- It’s not that hard to do, its 100% legal, and it saves a ton of energy.
- One great spot to draft while swimming is right behind someone- everyone knows this one.
- The secret great spot for drafting is next to the lead swimmer, but half a body length back.
- You can see a lot more detail on this triathlon tip here: draft while swimming in a triathlon.
Biking: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Bike
3. Ride faster in a triathlon by riding on the white line when you are riding alone.
- On bad pavement it will surprise you how much faster you can bike!
4. Ride on the fast pavement whenever you can!
- Sometimes just six inches to the left or right can be worth 1mph
- You can see details on this triathlon tip in this article: how to ride faster in a triathlon on the faster pavement without causing a crash.
5. Evaluate your triathlon bike fit
- If you can’t ride for the whole bike leg (however long it takes you to ride whatever distance you are training for) in your aero-bars, you need a better triathlon bike fit.
- It’s far more important to ride in your aero position for the entire bike leg than it is to buy an aero helmet or even to pedal really hard.
- You can do an online triathlon bike fit, or go to a good local tri shop,
- You can even do a DIY triathlon bike fit yourself with a video camera
6. Learn how to pass other triathletes on the bike efficiently via slingshot passing
- You will pass a ton of people out there- if you can save 1 second per pass by doing it smartly, it’s worth doing!
- Ride right up behind the athlete you are passing, then swing around at the last minute, having gotten a good rest while catching up behind the lead rider
- You have 15 seconds to go from 3 bike lengths behind to “your wheel passing the front wheel of the other athlete” -there is no reason not to use at least 10 of those 15 seconds!
7. Conversely, you should also learn how to be passed efficiently
- This is just a reverse slingshot pass
- Remember you have to drop out of the 3 bike length draft zone in 15 seconds
- But you might as well do it while directly behind the faster rider so you can rest while dropping back
8. Use the correct triathlon race tires to have a faster bike split with no added effort.
- While all tires may look the same (round? Check. Black? Check) there are huge differences.
- Some are crazy fast. Some are slow as riding in mud.
- A lot of research has been done on tires, and the result is a complete file of rolling resistance data (get it from the link below).
- There is a bit of a tradeoff with puncture resistance and tire speed, so read this article on how to choose the right triathlon tire for the specific race you are training for.
9. Use the correct tire sealant in your race tires so you can run fast (and slightly puncture prone) race tires without getting flats.
- There are a lot of good choices for tire sealants. My personal preference is “flat attack.”
- You can read an insane amount of detail about your tri tire sealant choices.
Running: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Run
10. Do most of your training runs SLOWER
- Most people do almost all of their runs “at the edge of discomfort.”
- This is too fast for your day-to-day run training.
- The much better method is to do almost all of your runs at a very easy, comfortable speed, and finish feeling like you could do a lot more.
- Then once a week, do a really hard speed workout.
- This will actually make you a lot faster for races, and GREATLY reduce your recovery time and risk of injury.
11. Aid station water is NOT for DRINKING
- Gatorade (or whatever with carbs and salt that they are handing out) is for drinking
- Water is for pouring on your head and keeping your hat, hair and clothes wet
- Water is not for drinking and is not for getting into your shoes (harder)
- Ice makes a huge difference, but its hard to figure out where to put it when running
- Wear one surgical/latex glove (yes you look kind of silly) and fill it with ice at the aid stations
13. Develop an efficient aid station routine
- There are 12 running aid stations in a half ironman.
- Save a few seconds at each one and it’s 4 minutes off your race time!
- Keep moving! If you stop moving you lose time and your legs get cramps. At least walk, or jog through it
- Develop a routine and stick to it- this way as you get dumb towards the end you don’t forget something
- The key thing to keep in mind is to do as little as possible in the aid station itself and to move on and do as much as you can while running.
- Here are suggestions on a routine that works,
About the author: Coach Noah is the head coach at T1 Triathlon LLC, a coaching company dedicated to meeting the needs of all triathletes, specifically including beginner triathletes, and often working with athletes training for their first Ironman. We had 3 first-time Ironman athletes this year, and one athlete race at Kona 18 months after starting triathlon. You can read about our success stories, and the services we offer.
- If you want to ask the coach a question, send him an email!
- This “Top 10 Tips” list was developed from our popular “Triathlon Tips of The Day” service
- You should also like us on facebook!
This blog entry was brought to you by coachfitter.com, a great service that helps athletes connect with the coaches they fit with in many different sports.
October 16, 2012 on 1:29 pm | In Athlete Profile, Community, From the shop, Races, Sponsorship, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
No longer an underdog after her 3rd place finish in Hawaii last year, Leanda Cave is one of those athletes you root for because of her work ethic, and because she’s just plain nice. If you live in Tucson you can see her out on the roads and trails, putting in the hard work day after day, like Rocky Balboa. It’s not always the best man or woman who wins; sometimes it’s the ones who are willing to play dirty or sometimes it’s that annoying team with all the money. Leanda, however is not only one of the hardest working professional triathletes, but also one of the nicest professional triathletes I’ve had the honor of meeting.
I’ll never forget the first time I was introduced to her in the TriSports retail store, shortly after I moved to Tucson and started working here. It was my first time meeting a pro outside of a race setting. When I was introduced to her, the person introducing us mentioned that I was training for a marathon. I noticed that she seemed to be friends with everyone in the building, but figured that it was just because they had been there for so long. However, the very next time she came in, not only did she greet me by name, but she asked how my marathon training was going. Getting to know her on a few training rides and on a few social outings solidified my belief that she is a kind, down-to-earth woman.
Because of the wonderful person she is, the entire TriSports triathlon community was behind her on race day. I was, quite literally, on the edge of my seat as I watched the final miles of the marathon unfold. To be honest, I was a little worried at one point; I had never seen Mirinda Carfrae catch another athlete and not pass her. When Leanda held strong and then began pulling away, everyone in the room went wild. She made us believe, as she must have all along, that she could catch Caroline Steffen and win the race.
Sitting in the TriSports Tempe retail store is Leanda’s trophy from Ironman Arizona. At the beginning of the year our staff, along with some of our best customers and sponsored athletes, wrote resolutions for the New Year. Below is a picture of that trophy and Leanda’s resolution; that’s how the mind of a champion works, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the title Ironman World Champion. It was such a thrill watching our friend and sponsored athlete win the most important and exciting race of the year, becoming the first woman to win both the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Championship races in the same year. Leanda, you continue to amaze and inspire us, and we thank you for another great year. Congratulations, champ! Your win was hard earned and well deserved.
August 6, 2012 on 10:29 am | In Announcements, Races | No Comments
The TriSports.com big rig hit the road today for a two-week trek across the country! We are so excited to making the trek to meet some of our online east coast customers. Members of the marketing, warehouse, customer service, and retail teams are excited to put a face to the names we love shipping packages to. We will have all the race day essentials and gadgets you love for our friends in Ohio and Vermont.
Our first stop is West Chester, Ohio for the USAT Youth and Junior National Championship. We will be at the Voice of America Park Friday, August 10th from 9am to 5 pm, and Saturday, August 11th from 6:30am to 1:30 pm.
Next we will be headed to the USAT Olympic and Sprint National Championship in Burlington, Vermont. We will be setting up shop at the Burlington Sheraton on Friday, August 17 10am to 6pm, and Saturday August 18 from 8 am to 6:30 pm.
We look forward to seeing you out there and make sure you honk and wave to Shari and Pam K in the truck!
June 11, 2012 on 10:56 am | In Announcements, Races, Sponsorship | No Comments
Congratulations to Team TriSports athlete Leanda Cave on her 4th overall win at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon! Leanda has previously won this race in 2010, 2008, and 2007. Other notable multi-time Escape from Alcatraz Champions include: Andy Potts (5x), Simon Lessing(3x), Michellie Jones (8x), Chris McCormack (4x), Mike Pigg (3x), and Paula Newby Frasier (3x). Escape is touted as one of the legendary races in the triathlon community due to its long, cold and rough water swim, hilly and technical bike (many pro’s opted for road bikes) , and sandy run. In typical Leanda Cave fashion she exited the water with the front pack of women and put together race best bike and run splits to take the win by over 3 minutes.
Pictures from Triathlete.com
May 25, 2012 on 12:25 pm | In Races, Sponsorship | No Comments
By Leanda Cave
Over the weekend a good friend reached out to me in search of help for his young nephew who was just diagnosed with ALS (also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). And two days later I learned the triathlon community has lost another life to ALS: Doug MacInnes (RIP Doug). This incurable disease takes lives every day and for the most part ALS is not heard about and sufferers only live for a short time beyond diagnosis. The health of the patient deteriorates so quickly leaving family and friends with very little time to adjust to the decline of their loved ones health.
A lot of athletes train day in and day out to participate and ultimately achieve a great result in triathlon, or any sport for that matter. To some degree, we race this sport of triathlon for no reason other than our ego driven goals. But I like to feel there is a purpose for everything and to know there is an even bigger reward. And so racing for a cause, or in the name of someone else, is one of my favorite ways to race. I encourage all athletes to consider the value it brings to your life and to others by getting behind a charitable organization and racing for them.
Besides raising money for research and awareness, the Blazeman Foundation for ALS has been a huge support network that distributes knowledge and assistance to families and friends of ALS sufferers. For this and many other reasons, I lend my time, name and voice to the Blazeman Foundation in hopes to increase their visibility and hopefully be a link in the chain to those who I reach. And what does this all have to do with my race at the 29th annual Columbia 5150 Triathlon? Rob Vigorito, the event owner and organizer, is a Clinical Instructor at the University of Maryland and has done key brain tissue research on Jon Blais (of whom the Blazeman Foundation was named after) in pursuit of a cure for ALS. Rob has given up his own time and raised over $4million in aid of charitable organizations. I raced Columbia 5150 in honor of Jon Blais and to support the charitable efforts of the Blazeman Foundation for ALS who help and encourage those and their families who have been affected by this disease. I will add that Rob was also kind enough to let me play around in his Porsche Boxter before the race!!
Back to the race report!
Let’s just say that I did it again. I managed to pick (or I should say it picked me) another one of the toughest races on the triathlon circuit to continue my early season racing campaign with equally tough competition! Columbia 5150 is probably one of the hardest races over the Olympic distance that I have ever done…..and I would just like to remind readers that I have been doing triathlon for 20 years! So it goes without saying that to do well over a course of this difficulty means that you are doing something right and your form isn’t that shabby. Hence, I’m pretty pleased with achieving 2nd place at this stage of the game. But what is of more significance to me is that I am still able to lay it down in an Olympic distance event. I have morphed into an Ironman triathlete over the past 5 years and technically I should have no speed in my legs at all! Additionally, the 30 hour training weeks I have been putting in prior to this event are not exactly conducive to Olympic distance racing. I hurt myself quite a lot at this event and it felt really good! That sounds like I seek pleasure in pain but in fact it is just more the fun of racing neck-and-neck again. All too often, with long distance races, I find am more or less on my own the whole way.
On to how the actual race went down……
The clear leader out of the swim for the women was Sara McClarty. Sara actually caught some of the men because she is such a demon in the water! Next was a pack of 6 girls: Annabel Luxford, Lauren Goss, Rebecca Wassner, Debbie Tanner, Lindsey Jerdonek and myself. I forgot how fast transitions are in short course racing and I was like an old woman running to my bike. Right there I lost about 100m on the girls but I reeled most of them back in after the first few miles of the bike……..the exceptions being Rebecca Wassner and Annabel Luxford. And then, Sara McClarty was still in the lead somewhere in the distance! The bike course was a toughie: Hills, hills, and for kicks and giggles, a few more hills!
At about 20miles into the bike I finally caught McClarty which moved me into 3rd place. I was busting my lungs to keep up with Wassner who was busting her lungs just trying to keep the gap between herself and Luxford turning into daylight. We came off the bike about 90 seconds down on Luxford, and we were caught by Margie Shapiro who put in a valiant effort after coming out a bit down out of the swim.
Considering how bad my swim to bike transition, I was the first of our little pack to shoot out on to the run. I wanted to just go as hard as I could for the run but this was not an easy run. The longest flat section was a 400 yard stretch in the last mile. Everything else was either up or down but I kept telling myself: “it’s only 10km”, quite a bit shorter than the half or full marathon distance which I am now accustomed! I swear, 10km seems so short after you have raced a few Ironman! At the end, I managed to hold on to 2nd place. I only gained back 30secs on Luxford who took out the win, but I had to fight the last mile with the 3rd fastest run to hold off Laurel Wassner who ended up with the fasted run split by about a minute. I completed the race, with of course, the Blazeman Roll…….which all started with Jon Blais who said he would make it over the finish line at Ironman Hawaii even if he had to roll.
I’m so very happy with this result. It’s nice to know that I still have a bit of speed and it also felt incredible to fight so hard during a race. When I raced Wildflower, I was coming from quite some time off from racing and felt that it showed in my performance but now, after Columbia 5150, I feel like I’m truly racing once again and am more in love with racing and triathlon than ever.
My next race will be the famous Escape from Alcatraz. I already have won this one 3 times, and I have my sights set on another win. Thank you to all my AMAZING sponsors who I appreciate to no end: Driscoll’s Berries, Pacific Health Labs, K-Swiss, Trisports.com, Pinarello, Easton, Giro, Blueseventy, ISM Saddles, Tor Hans, Skins, TriBike Transport, Oakley, Computrainer, PowerCranks and Katalyst Multisport.